July 20, 2015
Seven students from the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management received their diplomas at a graduation ceremony in Lugano this weekend.
The honors were conferred by Prof. Paulo Gonçalves, MASHLM Founder & Director, Prof. Nikolaus Beck, MASHLM Co-Director, and Andrew Alspach, Deputy Head, OCHA Regional Office Responding to the Syria Crisis.
Beginning the ceremony, Prof. Beck recognized the importance of the jobs the new graduates do and expressed the hope:
That our program could contribute to better problem solving and more informed decision making in the endeavors that you have to face.
Prof. Paulo Gonçalves quoted the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Whatever you do, you need courage." Reflecting on this theme, Prof. Gonçalves continued:
Initiative and courage, they're the engine that moves you, that moves individuals and sparks change. We hope that the change that you have achieved, the completion of this graduate program, will lead to impact in your lives; more successful careers, being able to undertake more responsibility but also to a positive impact in the humanitarian sector, which is what we aspire to.
The keynote speech for the graduation was given by Andrew Alspach. Mr. Alspach, who teaches the Crisis Information Management class at MASHLM, offered advice gleaned from his long experience in the humanitarian field:
Listen to those that you serve. Be inspired by those t hat you serve. And the last thing was, face everything on principles, do your work based on principled response.
And he included the students' families in his closing remarks:
Congratulations to all of your families as well, because they have such a beautiful individual that took their time to invest their life in serving in this way and it's much appreciated.
This year, two students received special recognition for the quality of their master theses. Gloria Cecilia Urrea Castaño, USI Doctoral assistant, won the Best Master Thesis - Academic Excellence for Coordination among Humanitarian Organizations in Relief Operations.
The Best Master Thesis for Impact went to Nilawaty Bahar, Human Resources Director, Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan for System Dynamics Investigation into Employment Policies of Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan.
The seven new graduates are:
Abdul Zia Noori
Deputy Director Operations, Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan
Anne Obiageri Ukwuagu
Shipping Officer, UNICEF Abuja Nigeria
Special Units Commander, Ticino Cantonal Police
Charles Okoth Menya
Head of Logistics in Nigeria, Save the Children International
Gloria Cecilia Urrea Castaño
Doctoral assistant, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI)
Human Resources Director, Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan
Zahra Abdi Mohamed
Regional Logistics Manager covering the Horn of Africa, Norwegian Refugee Council